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Drought conditions ease, but East Texas ranchers still wary

East Texas Ranch

The drought situation in East Texas is steadily improving by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Several Northeast Texas counties were removed from drought status last week after recent rains.

Cattle rancher Mark Chamblee of Huntington, Texas, still can see the impact on his Brahman herd. He owns East Texas Ranch and had to sell off much of his cattle two years ago. Chamblee is slowing rebuilding his herd again. He has 25-head of cattle.

"We're still crossing our fingers for rain this summer, and not have what happened two years ago," Chamblee said.

But so far, Chamblee is pleased with rainfall amounts this season. He says there’s plenty of hay to go around.

"We still haven’t had too many days below freezing. So, we're still producing quite a bit of grass and the rain is helping a lot," Chamblee said.

Counties in the northernmost tier of Northeast Texas remain in moderate to severe drought status. Those include Bowie, Titus, Red River, Lamar and Franklin. In 2011, the Agriculture Department declared 213 Texas counties as drought disaster areas.